WNA Blog

Sat 20 May 2023

5 Outstanding Industries With Most Women In Management


Human Resources and Career Advice

Women are underrepresented in key decision-making roles across almost all industries in the Australian workforce. Australia’s leading gender equity agency reports that while women make up half of the employees (51%), women comprise only:

  • 19.4% of CEOs
  • 32.5% of key management positions
  • 33% of board members
  • 18% of board chairs.

Two sectors have achieved balance at the managerial level. And in one of those two sectors – healthcare – the proportion of female managers employed by blue-chip companies is low compared with the number of women who work in the industry.

The Workforce Gender Equity Agency (WGEA) found that 41% of managerial roles in leading financial services companies were held by women in 2021. Among the major companies in the healthcare sector, 51% of managers were female, which was unrepresentative of the workforce given that 79 per cent of workers in health were women.

Three other sectors are worth noting.

Education Sector

Women internationally dominate the teaching profession with 75% of the total employees in the industry being women. Men held most of the managerial positions in the past. However, in the recent past, women have shown significant improvements that despite dominating the industry, they also run it. Female leaders in the education sector have exceptional qualities that make them fit for the job. They are gentle, intuitive, receptive to ideas, cooperative, and expressive.

Social Services

Women leaders dominate this sector. It has transformed from being a male-dominated sector to having female and male share the same proportion or even being female-dominated. Most women opt to join the social sector since most organizations in the industry are state-owned, which means that the employees in these companies will not only have a good income but will also have job security.

Construction and Real Estate Industry

Most women with managerial positions at real estate businesses start off their career by fighting to gain respect from their male colleagues. Most people believe that female managers in the real estate industry have qualities of a good real estate agent. They have desirable qualities especially when it comes to dealing with clients, and solving personnel issues.

Males still hold a bigger percentage in the real estate industry. Nevertheless, women are showing more interest in the industry. The main reason why most females are joining the real estate sector is due to its flexible work schedule that favors family considerations. Getting your real estate license is not a walk in the park. Nevertheless, women are ready to attend the tough pre-license training for them to acquire a permit.

The deficiency of women in leadership roles is grabbing the global spotlight. 

When looking at Australia’s corporate sector, WEGA reports that:

  • Women hold 17.6% of chair positions and 31.2% of directorships, and represent 19.4% of CEOs and 34.5% of key management personnel. 
  • 22.3% of boards and governing bodies have no female directors. By contrast, only 0.6% had no male directors

Statistics from the Australian Institute of Company Directors reveal:

  • 34.2% of directors in the ASX 200 are women, as of 30 of November 2021.
  • Women comprised 41.8% of new appointments to ASX 200 boards as of 30 November 2021. 

Australia’s world-leading gender equality reporting program has helped achieve significant improvements in gender equality in workplaces since it was first implemented in 2013-14, according to Minister for Women, Senator the Hon. Katy Gallagher.

But she agrees that further initiatives are needed for continued momentum.

Since 2013-14, the gender pay gap in Australia has fallen from 28.6% to 22.8% and the proportion of women CEOs has increased five percentage points, with over one in five (22.3%) companies reporting they had a female CEO in 2021-2022.

Importantly, nearly 4 in 5 employers (77.7%) now have an overall policy or strategy in place to support gender equality, up 11.5 percentage points from 2013-14.

However, progress over the past two years stalled and, for the first time, there was no reduction in the gender pay gap, with it remaining at 22.8%.

It indicates reform is needed to drive further growth across all industry sectors.


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